Another Day of Light Air in Miami; The Calm Before the Storm?

The No. 1 U.S. Yngling team moves into more familiar territory, the top of the leader board, after three solid races on Biscayne Bay.

OCRDay3
Dan Nerney/rolex

Team 7 SailingSally Barkow, Debbie Capozzi, and Carrie HoweYnglingWe are almost back to the top of the standings, tied on points with Anne Le Helley from France, after Day 3 of Yngling Class competition at the Rolex Miami OCR. With the tiebreaker she is first and we are second.We made a lot of good happen out of some tough races here [Wednesday]. We were truly a fighting unit. We never gave up trying to make the most of a tough racecourse and tricky weather on Biscayne Bay.Anne, who is ranked fourth in the world in Ynglings, turned in a very strong performance and led us around the racecourse to score three bullets. She and her crew are sailing a new German-built Mader boat and they had something figured out in the go-fast department today that we didn't. We were all able to discard our worst race result [Wednesday], which let Anne improve her cumulative scores by throwing out a 15th from Race Two. We were able to drop the seventh place from our last race today.We made some good judgments on the starting line and Sally timed her starts perfectly. In the first race she claimed the pin end, got clear, and crossed the whole fleet on port. However the right wasn't the place to be and we were in the pack at the weather mark, only to foul another competitor. We exonerated with a 720-degree penalty turn and then had to work our way back through the fleet. This was a six-leg course and we were sixth at the last weather mark and picked up two more boats on the run to finish fourth.We had another good start to Race 2 as the breeze picked up to about seven knots from the southeast. We did OK early, but it wasn't until the second beat that really got on it with our performance numbers and tactics. We got inside our competition on the last tack of the second beat and rounded the top mark in second place. We didn't catch Anne Le Helley but finished second.The breeze went right and built to nine knots for the third start. Sally squeaked us over a tight line as a recall flag went up for another boat. We rounded the top mark quite deep in the fleet because we'd been trying to protect both sides of the course. It was another opportunity to use the skills we've been working on by staying in phase with the shifts and concentrating on working our way through the traffic. We got as far as seventh place by the finish gun. It wasn't what we were aiming for but we were able to claim it as our drop race.We are now on 20 points, along with Anne Le Helley. Finland's Silja Lehtinen, who led by seven points yesterday, is now third, with 23 points. And our British rival Sarah Ayton is fourth with 24 points.We'd like to send a great big thank you to the good folks at the Grosse Pointe YC who kindly arranged the use of a rigid inflatable to allow Mark Ivey, our second coach to join us on the water in Miami.We'll continue to send these nightly updates from Miami. Be sure to visit our new website at www.team7sailing.com. For full results check the Miami Rolex OCR site at www.rolexmiamiocr.org/results/yngling_06.htmMikee Anderson-Mitterling and David HughesMen's 470Well, we have now had three days of racing. It has defiantly been an interesting and eventful few days. As of today we sit in ninth, with a huge opportunity to strike and move into fourth. With 6 races left we are still strongly looking to medal at the OCR. Day 1:A great day of racing; three very close and intense races. A boatlength seemed like a mile. Any gain was a huge gain. We ended the day with a 9, 2, 19. We sailed very conservatively in the first two races and it showed. We rounded in the top third of the fleet both races and ground back boats left and right. Yet, on the last race of the day, we showed our lack of training unfortunately. We ended up having a bad start and then got a little finicky and tried to draw blood from the stone. It was not meant to be. Lessons learned. Day 2:The drifter. That is the best way to describe the day. After a great cup of coffee, we rigged the boat ready to launch and then the committee postponed ashore. With the water still looking like glass the committee decided to send us out. After a tow, we put our sunscreen on and began sitting around for about 3 hours before there was even a hint of breeze. With a little fill, the committee pushed out one very light and fluky race. We were able to gain boats throughout the race, but there was just not enough time and space to catch up. Bummer! Day 3:A tough and close day. Anything could have happened and, well, it did. One minute we were winning the race and the next we were worse than mid-fleet. It was a day that tested everyone's mental stamina. We had an okay day with a 14, 4. Which, in turn, was a decent day with a lot of teams having their drops today. With today's results, the top 10 has compressed and we are within striking distance of our goal. All is good with 6 more races to go.For more on Mikee and Dave's campaign, www.teamusa1734.orgTeam CroninCarol Cronin, Kim Couranz, and Margaret PodlichYnglingIt's Wednesday here and we are just past halfway through our regatta. Today provided a much nicer southeasterly breeze than predicted, and we enjoyed some more sunshine and warm temps. We also enjoyed our first top three finish of the regatta. Unfortunately, after that our results went a bit south. But let's go back to the first race, which was the most fun:We started at the leeward end of the line with only one boat, Sally Barkow, below us. The breeze had shifted left just before the start and Sally tacked and crossed the whole fleet. We saw a bit more pressure ahead and continued on starboard tack. When we did tack five minutes later, we had the whole fleet in our mainsail window- a great view, since it meant we were ahead of all of them! We rounded the first two marks with a comfortable lead and headed out again to the left side.Unfortunately on the second beat we had to deal with a bit of skipper "I want to be over there" panic, and ended up sailing ourselves back into fourth place by the windward mark. After a great duel around the next two laps, we climbed back up to a third place finish. Obviously our boat speed is back which felt great.The rest of the day was much harder. With 6 to 9 knots of breeze the speed of the fleet was very close, and we missed several split second decisions that made the difference between beating a pack and finishing behind them. Lessons learned, again, about how important it is to race as much as we can. And special thanks to coach Paul, who used up a few patience pills watching our mistakes today!Our 12, 10 finishes have moved us into 10th overall. The forecast is for big breeze the rest of the week, so we will get a chance to try out our hiking and pumping muscles again.For more, www.teamcronin.orgVince Brun and Brad NicholStar(ed.'s note: Brun is sailing as a last-minute replacement for regular skipper Andy Horton, who was unable to escape from his duties with the Luna Rossa America's Cup challenge.)Well, I am having trouble recalling the day because my head is spinning from all the penalty turns we completed in the second race, but I do know that we are going fast. The end result of the day was a 17, OCS in the two races putting us in 38th place, counting one of our two OCS starts. Tomorrow the fleet gets shuffled into Gold and Silver with the top 34 boats in the Gold Fleet. Each fleet will sail four more races over the next two days and then the top 10 boats from the Gold fleet will race the medal race on Saturday. Essentially our regatta is over but we will continue to race and learn as much as we can because each day of racing is a day of training for the Olympics in August 2008 in Beijing.For more, www.hortonnichol2008.com